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president obama vows to take action against guns and a culture of violence and faces some tough questions from one of our own. >> this is not the first issue, the first incident of horrific gun violence of your four years. where have you been? from the global resources of abc news, with cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, and terry moran in washington, this is a special edition of "nightline" -- tragedy at sandy hook, the search for solutions. good evening. i'm terry moran. today the shattered community of newtown, connecticut, mourned the young teacher who died trying to protect her first grade class, while school districts across the country are now beefing up security. in the wake of this tragedy, schools nationwide are grappling with the difficult questions about keeping their students safe, including the debate over arming teachers with guns. here's alex perez.
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>> reporter: she came face to face with unthinkable horror and fought to save her first graders. laid to rest today, 27-year-old sandy hook teacher vicki soto. those remembers her we're green ribb ribbons, her favorite color. her sister jillian, already know what the world is remembering, saying you have been a hero to me for a lot longer than five days. you've been my big sister, the one i've always looked up to. among the mourners, family friend musician paul simon who performed "the sound of silence." soto did everything she could to keep her school family safe and worried teachers across the country are desperately working to make sure another sandy hook never happens again. at middleton elementary in chicago, security measures begin the moment you set foot on campus with this camera equipped doorbell. >> the visitor rings the doorbell and the person inside can already see us. >> they can see you. they can see what kind of mood you're in, if you're angry and assess it if you get in one more
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layer towards the building. >> reporter: the first set of locked doors only get you as far as the entryway. >> hi, welcome to middleton. >> reporter: the front desk then takes my i.d., scans it and performs an instant criminal background check using a system called raptor. the technology has already spread to 8,000 schools across the country. >> there you go. >> reporter: once cleared, i get this bright orange lanier that visitors must wear. there are cameras watching your every move. administrators can even pull up the cameras 24/7 on their smart phones. the superintendent and security consultant have invested more than $175,000 over the last two years beefing up security at the three schools in this tiny district in illinois. >> i don't know that there's too big a price tag to put on keeping your kids safe as they can absolutely be. >> reporter: while administrators admit there's no way of making the school 100%
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safe and immune to threats, prevention is the focus. classroom doors were updated to open inward and lock from the inside, eliminating the need to step out of the room if there's a threat in the hallway. and they're also considering bullet resistant glass for the building. >> too often we hear we're not going to be able to afford that, and the truth of it is what we really cannot afford is a terrible incident. >> reporter: in tiny wichita, texas, "the herald" school district is taking a different approach, arming teachers. >> i like it because it makes me feel safer. we don't have a police station here. >> reporter: since 2007, the district has allowed teachers with concealed handgun licenses to carry guns in the classroom, a controversial move, but one the superintendent is convinced will prevent a school shooting here. >> my goal is if someone comes in to try to hurt my little ones, that they are killed. >> reporter: and since the nightmare at sandy hook, lawmakers across the country are pushing for a similar solution,
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armed teachers in classrooms. >> i wish to god she had had an m-4 in her office locked up. >> you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in the state. >> reporter: at edison high school in tulsa, oklahoma, armed guards patrol the hallways. >> what's up, buddy? >> reporter: the gun, guards say, is necessary to be ready for the unexpected. >> we hoped that we would never have to use it. i hope i never have to use my gun. but with today being the way they are, i do have it and it's a resource that we would rely on and would use if we had to to keep someone safe. >> reporter: but bill believes more guns, more bloodshed. he was principal when a 14-year-old gunman opened fire, killing three students. >> if teachers and principals had guns, i think a lot of innocent kids would be killed by the principals and the teachers trying to stop something. >> reporter: as the gun debate grows louder, the community
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continues to mourn. this time, a tribute held at connecticut state university. back in newtown, a familiar face and the sign of hope. donna, the retired principal of sandy hook elementary, is returning to her old post. charged with a difficult task of leading students and staff forward. her presence, a small reminder of this community's commitment to each other after a tragedy that will never be forgotten. for "nightline," i'm alex perez in chicago. >> our schools becoming fortresses and maybe armed fortresses. next up, a virginia tech shooting survivor goes undercover to show how easy it can be to buy a gun in this country in cash without i.d. captions paid for by abc, inc.
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this special edition of "nightline" -- tragedy at sandy hook, the search for solutions, continued with terry moran. the tragedy that struck newtown, connecticut, last friday was unthinkable in so many ways, but as we all sadly know, it was not unprecedented. from aurora, to tuscan, to virginia tech, the litanies of names, the shooting rampages have become depressingly familiar features of american reality, that one remarkable young man is now fighting to stop. he is on a mission to expose how easy it can be to buy powerful guns in this country. this heartbreaking season continues in newtown.
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this season of funerals. three more children laid to rest. as the country struggles to make sense of the horror, there's a voice you should hear. >> it's the worst day of your life. it's chaotic. it's hopeless. >> colin goddard knows what it's like to be in a classroom when an armed madman busts in and starts shooting people. colin was a student at virginia tech. >> it was the most terrifying ten and a half minutes of my life. when you're getting shot at, you're just in shock. >> colin was hit by four of the bullets. three of them are still in him. weeks after the shooting, he recalled those moments. >> the shooter came inside and we were all on the ground, not moving, not making a scene at all, just lying there acting -- playing dead, you know, almost every one of us.
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we were just at his mercy. he could have done whatever he wanted to, and he chose to go around the room in such a way that he killed all the other students in my class except for a few of us. yeah, it's been a little messy. >> colin goddard's moment of recovery, the rehab, the psychological therapy, the search for answers and meaning, it's all led him to this. >> we are better than this. we are better than a nation with mass shootings in movie theaters and schools and on our streets. >> he works at the brady campaign to prevent gun violence, but he does more than lobby and make public service announcements. he goes undercover to gun shows across the country and he says he proves how ridiculously easy it is to buy guns without any kind of background check at all. as he shows us in a documentary called "living for 32" after the
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32 virginia tech students who were murdered. >> the llama here. >> the llama? >> i paid $300 for it. i wouldn't mess with it for less than $20. i'm a retired schoolteacher. >> 40% of the guns sold in america are purchased at gun shows. more than five million people attend these events every year. they generate billions of dollars in sales, and since only licensed dealers are required by the law to perform background checks on the people they sell guns to, all of the private sellers out there -- you can find them at every show -- sell guns without any check at all. that's the gun show loophole. and colin goddard has made it his mission to close it. here at a gun show in ohio, he says he and his friends were able to buy an assault rifle without even an i.d. >> you want $660 for it? >> yeah, out the door.
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have to be over 18, and an ohio resident. no tax, no paper work. and i need to see your driver's license. >> i don't have it on me. >> i bought tech nines, mac 11s, the same gun that was used to shoot me. i bought it all. all without a background check and it was all legal. my question is why is that legal? >> were you shocked? >> i was. i didn't think i was going to be able to do it at first, and then once i did it once and then did it twice and then three times, i was like wow, this is really easy. >> and it worked? >> and it worked every time. >> polls show a strong majority of americans favor closing the gun show loophole, but in newtown, that wasn't the problem. at virginia tech, that wasn't the problem. the killers used legally purchased weapons. >> there's not one thing that's going to stop all shootings. there's not one policy that's going to save us all.
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but, you know, background check is something that will make it more difficult for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun. >> colin goddard is not a victim, but a survivor and a citizen activist with a youthful conviction that yes, we can be better than this. >> i can't do this alone. i need people to come together on this. that's why i share my story. this is only going to be a period of my life. it's not going to be forever. but to the extent that i can share my story and move the balfour ward, let's do it. let's help save some lives. >> a remarkable young voice in this national debate that's under way. just ahead, the president's promise for fast action to stop the epidemic of gun violence. but what will he do, and when? ♪ [ male announcer ] how could switchgrass in argentina, change engineering in dubai, aluminum production in south africa, and the aerospace industry in the u.s.? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections
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it may have taken a tragedy of the sandy hook magnitude to thrust the gun debate into the national spotlight, but with president obama's promise to take action today, it seems that real change could be on the horizon, but what will washington do and how quickly? here's abc's jake tapper.
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>> reporter: five days after the horrific attack at sandy hook elementary school, the president fleshed out what he meant when he pledged to the citizens of newtown meaningful action. >> i will use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. we won't prevent them all. but that can't be an excuse not to try. >> reporter: but for years, many of the president's strongest supporters have been disappointed by his relative silence and inaction when it comes to gun violence. you've had a position on renewing the ban on semiautomatic rivals, but you didn't do much about it. this is not the first incident of horrific gun violence of your four years. where have you been? >> here's where i've been, jake. i've been president of the united states dealing with the worst economic crisis since the great depression, an auto industry on the verge of collapse, two wars. i don't think i've been on vacation. i think all of us have to do
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some reflection on how we prioritize what we do here in washington. >> reporter: it is precisely that reflection, his aides say, that brought him to the reagan press room. reagan severely wounded in an act of gun violence more than 30 years ago. today the president said his administration would look at the mental health, education, cultural and gun control aspects of this tragedy. to head the effort, he appointed vice president biden, an author of the 1994 crime bill which contained a ban on some semiautomatic rifles. the biden team, which will include the four relevant cabinet secretaries, will report to the president by next month, he said. >> this is not some washington commission. this is a team that has a very specific task to pull together real reforms right now. >> reporter: the president also called on congress to take real action now, banning the sale of
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high capacity ammunition clips, closing the so called gun show loophole that does not require background checks for many private sales, and banning the sale of what the president called military-style assault weapons, which the white house defined as high-powered weapons that can fire hundreds of rounds in minutes. >> if we're going to change things, it's going to take a wave of americans, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, pastors, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and yes, gun owners standing up and saying enough on behalf of our kids. >> reporter: of course, a ban is not that simple. take a look. this is an m-16 automatic rifle. it's generally illegal to the public. it can fire continuously. with one pull of the trigger, the bullets come nonstop, 30 rounds in two seconds. this ar-15 style rifle is legal and very popular. it looks similar to the m-16 on
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the outside, but it's semiautomatic. one bullet gets fired per pull of the trigger. so this legal version takes ten to 15 seconds to fire off 30 rounds. some ar-15 style rifles were covered under the ban on semiautomatic assault weapons that joe biden wrote and that expired in 2004. but not all of them. we know so little about the ar-15 style rifle used in the massacre of 26 people at sandy hook elementary, it's unclear if it would have been covered. these bans are technical and complicated. and often contain many loopholes. this is the difficult political terrain to which the president now treads. but he said that's where he's headed. >> if we are not getting right, the need to keep our children safe, then nothing else matters. >> reporter: this is jake tapper for "nightline" at the white house. >> thanks to jake for that. as we say good night this evening, nine "nightline" teams are imbedding in various locations across the country for
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a special edition -- a day in the life of the american gun. make sure you tune in tomorrow. thanks for watching abc news. we hope you tune in for "good morning america." we're always online at abcnews.com. jimmy kimmel is up next. we'll see you here tomorrow. up next on "jimmy kimmel live" -- >> the company said if they didn't come to work by thursday, they would liquidate, which actually sounds delicious. >> eric stonestreet. >> stone street sounds drunk onstage. i was like, i was not drunk, i was tipsy. >> do you work on thanksgiving? >> absolutely not. i'm an american! >>

tv
Nightline
ABC December 19, 2012 11:35pm-12:00am PST

News/Business. Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran, Bill Weir. (2012) New. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 6, Newtown 5, Sandy Hook 4, Washington 4, Terry Moran 3, Abc 3, Virginia Tech 3, America 3, Colin Goddard 2, Carl 2, Obama 2, Biden 2, Alex Perez 2, Sandy 2, Geico 2, T. Rowe 2, Connecticut 2, Chicago 2, Virginia 2, Jillian 1
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